Less than 2 weeks ago Al Horford agreed to a four-year, $113 million contract to leave the Atlanta Hawks for a new start with the Boston Celtics. While the move was met with celebration throughout Boston and the Celtic fan base, drama clouded his departure from Atlanta thanks to some colorful quotes from Horford’s father.
His father hinted that Horford’s decision to leave the Hawks was rooted in a negative opinion about the fans in Atlanta.
“There wasn’t as much motivation for him when he saw all the empty seats when they were winning,” Horford’s dad told the Boston Globe. “He said to me, ‘Dad, when we were playing Boston, they were down 15 points and they were cheering their team like they were winning the game. They’re so into the game.’ This is special for us, especially for him.”
Going against the fans is like throwing bad numbers at Craps Geeks
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week, Horford cleared the air about his father’s comments.
“That made me really upset,” he said. “I was angry when I heard about that because I never felt that way. I’ve been here a long time. I’ve actually gotten to know a lot of our fans, a lot of our season-ticket holders with the Hawks. They’ve always been great to me. I’ve always been very content and happy with the way they’ve treated me and my family.
“Parents are sometimes a little more passionate about their sons and daughters. I can relate because I have a son now. So my dad, with him, sometimes he would come to the games and get frustration. His frustrations don’t reflect on me with the fan base.”
Adding another layer of drama to Horford’s departure from Atlanta, CBS Sports cited a person familiar with the situation as saying that Horford “didn’t want to play with Dwight.”
“No, no, no. Not at all. I don’t have a problem with Dwight at all,” Horford told the Journal-Constitution. “I think that he is a great player and he has a lot of ability and a lot of potential. It has nothing to do with not wanting to play with Dwight. I don’t know if you remember but there was a time when I wanted to play power forward. With a guy like him, that would have been easier. It had nothing to do with Dwight. He’s a good guy.”
Horford re-iterated that his goal entering free-agency was to re-sign with the only team he has ever played for, the Atlanta Hawks.
“I started to see that when the team stepped up and did what they had to do, I didn’t think we were on the same page,” Horford said. “That’s when I was forced to start looking at other options.”
Those “other options” included the Boston Celtics
“When I took the meetings with the other teams, I met with Boston and other teams as well, when I sat with them I just saw the roster and their vision,” Horford said. “There was a lot of impact on me with Danny Ainge and coach [Brad] Stevens. It was a very positive meeting. Two of their owners were in the meeting and three or four of their players were there too. They seemed like a very close group and were focused on what their goal was and they got my attention.
“I wasn’t sure in what direction I was going to go. But I knew in order to leave Atlanta it was going to take a very special situation.”